Dear Friends in Christ
We have entered this New Year of 2021 with Covid levels even higher now thatn they were at the peak in 2020. Obviously this is a very frighteneing scenarionn for many people, especially our elderly. With the new variant being so contageous a lot of people are self-isolating once again. Manifestly, Health and Safety are always the top priorities for all families. Unfortunately, you still see individuals who think they are invincible and that the virus wont affect them. My brother recently told me how frightening the Covid Ward in the hospital was, and that it wasn’t just old people who were on ventilators. Thankfully he is home now recovering. Obviously, with the vaccine programme now in full swing, and hopefully increasing in the number of injections being given on a daily basis, it will give some protection to our elderly people, which ultimately should result in less people being admitted to hospital. But this is certinaly going to take some weeks before we see a reduction in numbers, and sadly, there will still be more deaths. Please keep safe and well.
SOLEMNITY OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD:
Do you know that date you were baptised? Pope St John Paul II, believed the day of his baptism was the greatest day of his life. Our initiation into the Christian life commences on the day of our Baptism. In the Gospel today we see Jesus’ baptism. It actually wasn’t necessary for him to be baptised as he was free from sin; but he uses it as a witness to those around, how he wishes to be associated with with sinful humanity, as Saviour. The sacred promises made by our loving paretns on the day of child’s baptism are an eternal legacy to the child, that they will do everything in their path to keep that child on the path of Jesus Christ, and ultimately, leading to God. Baptism, is the gateway to the Sacremntal Life; we begin that great jounrney of discovery, and live out daily those promises so solemnly made on our behalf. Perhaps, you can look at your Baptismal Certificate today and memorise the date of your Baptism. (Picture: Baptism of Jesus, LosAngeles Cathedral)
My Dear Friends,
As the song goes “What a difference a day makes!” As the rates of death have peaked to record levels over the past twenty-four hours, and as the Covid virus rages throughout our country. My first concern is for the health and Safety of all our parishioners. As yet, we haven’t heard anything from the Bishop or the Bishops’ Conference with reagrds to clebrating public masses. Hopefully, at some stage today (Saturday), a statement should be made. At present, the directives from Government are that Communal Worship may continue. But listening to the News today they statd that one in twenty people in London are testing positive with the virus, and the contageous nature of the virus is getting out of control. I would ask all of our parishioners, at present, to use your own discretion as to whether you attend public masses. Until we receive Governmental & Diocesan guidelines, I will continue to celebrate Holy Mass, but they will also be live-streamed. YOUR HEALTH & SAFETY ARE MY MAIN CONCERN.
Manifestly, with our schools being closed, once again our children are having to access some on-line learning. Obviously, with losing out so much time last year mthese are difficult times in education. With the executive decision being made to cancel GCSE’s & A Levels this year, many of our young adults have been left disappointed and frustrated. After all the hard work they have put in through their coruses; thankfuly, the decision by Governement for Teacher’s Assessment is a much better solution than last years adjusment by an algorithm. This is a more fair way to assess our young people. Their teachers will always know best. Please pray for all our Young people and chidlren, and of coruse all our Teachers at this difficult time.
Once again, an incredibly BIG THANK YOU, to the whole parish community for your ongoing suppport during this Pandemic. The number of parishioners who have volunteered as Stewards and helpers during this difficult period of time is truly inspiring; and the selfless help and charitable acts of kindness, especially to those who are vulnerable, housebound and sick has been outstanding. Please continue to keep safe, and always be kind and loving to one another.
With Love & Peace to you All,
CONFIRMATION PROGRAMME 2021: A very big thank you to all of our Young People who have made application to enrol in the Sacrament of Confrimation. Much to my surpirse there were 42 applications. I have sat down and read every single application; some were only a sentence or two, but others were very thoughtful personal reflections on the Sacrament and what it means to the young person. I found this very inspiring and hopeful!
The Sacrament of Confirmation in the Diocese of Brentwood is for Young People 14 years upwards. It is a decision that the young person should come to as individuals, but with the support of their faithful family. Obviously, teenage years can be challenging in all sorts of different ways, and to actually come to decision about receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, is very much a mature decision not only of commitment in faith, but also about their future lives as practicing Catholics. I was so delighted recently when a young man said to me that he wanted to be Confirmend in his faith, because he wanted to be married in the Catholic Church. Obviously, he had thought very seriously about the meaning of the Sacrament and its consequences. In some of the letters, our young people talked of how their lives of faith were growing, especially as they were beginning to understand more fully the meaning and signigificance of all of the Sacraments. Others talked about wanting to make a deeper commitiment to Jesus Christ.
The Late Pope St. John Paul II, said on his pastoral Visit to the UK back in 1982 that our young people: “In the Church of today, you are the hope of tomorrow.” These words still apply; you young people are our hope of tomorrow. To be strong in faith and bearing witness to Jesus Christ through your young and enthusiastic lives, gives inspiration to us all! I share with you another beautiful quote from Pope St. John Paul II: “It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal
I have had a long discussion with our Director Mark Anthony with regards to the commencement of the Confirmation Programme this year. Our Bishop was due to have come on a Pastoral Visitation at the beginning of March, but I don’t think this will be happening this year; and, we would never have been able to get a Programme completed by then. Manifestly, with the situation regarding Covid-19 raging throughout the country at present and with Schools closed and online learning taking place; we have decided that the Programme will commence through Zoom. Obviously, this is not what anyone of us would have wanted, but Health & Safety are of utmost importance. We don’t want to rush the programme, it’s far too important; and with the vaccination programme having been initiated, hopefully by the summer most people will have been immunised, and we can return to some semblance of normality once again. We ask you to kindly be patient; even if it means being Confirmed much later in the year; the most important thing is that you will receive the Sacrament. As many of you are now off School, could I recommend that you Google the Sacrament of Confirmation, and find out as much as you can about the Sacrament. I hope most people have access to laptop or desk top computer. The more knowledge you have the better.
We would request all of our Young People to join us weekly for Holy Mass; even if we’re locked down, we can make that extra special effort to tune in through social Media to our on-line masses. It shows commitment and seriousness about the Sacrament. We would also like to ask our young people to really think seriously about the Sacrament of Confirmation that you’re preparing for. Think of the different ways you can personally bear witness to your Catholic Faith over these next months. Are there things that you can do personally? Involvement in the life of faith and the church is not exclusively for older people. The life is faith is something that can be active. Think about ways in which you can truly put into action your Christian values and principles. Confirmation is the Sacrament of Mission – which is something active!
Finally, could I ask all prospecitive candidates to kindly forward their e.mail addresses as soon as possible please. With thanks. Parents, please wncoruage your son/duaghter to read this item in the Parish Newsletter.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2021: There has been very little response this year to applicants for the First Holy Communion Porgramme. I have spoken at lentgth to Kathryn Poulter who runs the programme; and in light of the Coronavirus restrictions at this present time, with the virus raging out of control, it is going to be almost impossible to run any kind of meaningful interactive programme for the children. We considered the prepration for the Sacraments of Reconciliation & the Holy Eucharist far too important to run a programme with no engagment from the children. Therefore, we will postpone the Programme this year until we know when it is safe to gather again as a community. I know this may sound very disappointing; but your Health & Safety are our first priority at this very difficult time.
Please pray for all the families of our Parish. Thank you. Fr. John
EPPING FOREST FOODBANK DONATIONS: Thank you to all parishioners who continue to generously donate items for the Foodbank during these difficult times. The Foodbank are truly grateful for the generosity our parish has shown throughout the pandemic and our donations are still needed desperately as more and more people in our community are finding it hard to make ends meet. Basic staple items are always welcome including the unbranded supermarket basic ranges which can make your generous donations go even further. Currently they are in urgent need of the following items: tinned fruit, tinned ham, tinned carrots, sponge puddings, chocolate bars, Nutella, toilet rolls (2 or 4 pack), washing up liquid, laundry tablets/powder and shower gel. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with
the Foodbank via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/
ST. JOHN FISHER CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL: (School Applications for September 2021) will not be offering any on-site tours to view our school this year. Instead we have prepared a virtual tour. Please visit our school website on www.st-johnfisher.essex.sch.uk (our admissions page is under the Statutory Info section). The virtual tour will give parents the opportunity to see what the school is like.
Admissions open on the Essex website on 9th November 2020, and the closing date is this week 15th January 2021. We ask parents to complete a supplementary form, also obtainable from the admissions page, (especially if they wish to be considered under criteria 2 or 3 of the admissions policy) and can be returned directly to the school. If you need further information, please contact Mrs McGrenra on firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIOCESAN YEAR BOOK: Is now available for purchase from the Parish Repository. It cost £2.80. It really is worth investing in a Yearbook, as it gives all the latest details of parishes, priests’ addresses, statistics, general information about the Catholic Faith and the Church. PLEASE BUY ONE!
PARISH REPOSITORY: Has a large selection of Religious items; gifts for baptisms; Medals, Statues, Religious books for children, Mass cards for all occasions, Bibles, Prayer Books, and many other items. If there is something that would specifically like to order please see Teresa Wallace or Fr. John. Our thanks to those who purchased various Christmas items this year; especially Cribs and Advent Calendars. The Christmas stock has now been removed. Thank you to Teresa for keeping the Repository so well stocked for all occasions.
ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS OFFERING: This year, as always, envelopes are still available for us to make our Christmas Offering, which, as you know, is an opportunity in every Catholic Church for parishioners to make a Christmas gift to their Parish Priest. This year our Christmas Offering can also be made electronically. We just need to transfer the money to the parish account with the reference ‘Xmas offering’. Any questions please ask Iain McLay (email@example.com). The details of the bank account are:
Sort Code: 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Account Name: Catholic Church Loughton St Edmund
WEEKLY OFFERTORY: My sincere thanks to those who are making their weekly contribution of Gift Aid envelopes and through the banking system that has been set up through the Diocese whereby your Offertory can be paid directly into the Parish Account, details below:
Or you can use Parish Bank Account: Using Online Banking
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22
Account Number: 11019651
Please put your name as reference and your Gift Aid number if you have one. If you can set it up as a regular payment this would be excellent and save a lot of time in the future. If you don’t have GIFT AID this is a good time to start, you can do this by e-mailing Maria Mosquera (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With continued thanks for your generosity.
God Bless You All Fr. John
PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH
Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Brian Beveridge, Karl Britz, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn, James Geller, Veronica Godsave, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Pamela Houghton, Shaun Keel, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, Sheila Murphy, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Kathleen Pomeroy, Barbara Pope, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary Walstow, Mary Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones.
ANNIVERSARIES: For all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace.
OFFERTORY COLLECTION: With continued thanks for your Weekly Offering. If you would like to join the Gift Aid Scheme, there are application forms in the Church Porch or ask Fr. John for a form. If you forget your envelope, there are spares in the Porch. Thank you!
RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Our RCIA programme continues Thursday 14th January 2021 at 8.00pm unfortunately, due to the latest Government guidelines we cannot meet together in the Presbytery; therefore, there will be a Zoom meeting. Theme: The Sacrament of Matrimony. Please pray for our enquirer. This programme is a systematic study of all aspects of the Roman Catholic Faith, with the view of the enquirer deciding to receive the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation & the Holy Eucharist.
SACRAMENTS CELEBRATED DURING ALERT LEVEL 5 RESTRICTIONS: In accordance with Government & Diocesan Guidelines, we are allowed to celebrate Funerals with 30 people present, strictly observing social distancing. 15 people are allowed to be present at a wedding. Baptisms are allowed to take place in the context of a Sunday Mass setting. These are really difficult times, and many couples were disappointed last year not being able to celebrate their marriages. We are hoping with the advent of the vaccine, that things will change dramatically this year. If there are any couples who are thinking about getting married, please notify the parish immediately. Thank you. Obviously until restrictions are lifted all of the above applies for the foreseeable future.
MASS INTENTIONS – JANUARY 2021
|Sat 9th||10.00am||Joan Moffat (Nancy Ironside & Margaret Duffy)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday:|
|Sat 9th||6.00pm||Julius Zuluetta Rolle (Melinda Staines)|
|Sun 10th Sun 10th||9.00am10.00am||Margaret Whelen RIP (M Duffy)People of the Parish|
|Sun 10th||11:00am||Peter Smith RIP (Paul Falco)|
|Mon 11th||10.00am||Eileen Newton (sick) (Bill & Helen Walsh)|
|Tues 12th||10.00am||Devid Emslie RIP (Anni) (M Duffy)|
|Wed 13th||10.00am||Michael & Breege Kerrane RIP (Mary)|
|Thurs 14th||10.00am||Aoife Hogan RIP (20th Anni) (Frank, Sue, Jack & Ryan)|
|Fri 15th||11.00am||Eugene Kane RIP (Margaret Duffy)|
|Sat 16th||10.00am||Kathleen & Tommie Mullanie RIP (Monica Maycraft)|
|Vigil Mass for Sunday|
|Sat 16th||6.00pm||Margaret Whelen RIP (Marie Suleyman)|
|Sun 17th Sun 17th||9.00am10.00am||People of the ParishMaur Huthins RIP (Alice McCusker)|
|Sun 17th||11:00am||Margaret Meaney RIP (Evelyn & Robert Bearne)|
PLEASE BOOK ANNIVERSARY MASSES IN ADVANCE. THANK YOU